Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 2021

Not strictly a nature picture

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Here’s an abstract and not-strictly-nature picture I made showing algae, curtaining water,
and mineral deposits on a low dam at Berry Springs Park in Georgetown on January 31st.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 18, 2021 at 4:32 AM

The Colorado River at Dawn

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I came away with my one moonshot when I’d driven up to the heights along W. Courtyard Dr. on the morning of February 3rd hoping for a good sunrise. As things turned out, the sky offered only subtle colors but I did manage this view of the Colorado River and the downtown Austin skyline in the hazy distance.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 17, 2021 at 4:37 AM

Gibbous moon

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Not bad for handheld at 400mm and 1/320 of a second at dawn on February 3rd.
If you view this against a dark background you’ll see the sky is blue-indigo.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2021 at 4:30 AM

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More ice pictures

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Above is a February 12th view from farther back of the ice-covered possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) in Great Hills Park that provided the close-up you saw last time. Below is a lichen-covered oak twig that ice added its own kind of coating to.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 15, 2021 at 4:37 AM

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Winter comes to Austin for the second time in 2021

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First came the January 10th snowfall, which you’ve seen in a bunch of pictures. On February 11th we got hit with an ice storm, and the temperature has only briefly been above freezing since then. On the 12th I spent a couple of hours in Great Hills Park photographing ice-coated plants, including a possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua), many of whose little fruits had icicles hanging from them.

I intended to post this yesterday but the electricity in my neighborhood kept going out on the 12th, including when I’d almost finished editing this picture but hadn’t yet saved it, so I shut my computer off as a precaution. In any case, since today is Valentine’s Day, you can downplay the ice and let the red symbolize romance.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 14, 2021 at 4:25 AM

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Berry Creek in winter

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On a sunny, breezy January 31st we went* to Berry Springs Park in Georgetown. The first picture plays up a disembodied tree shadow that aligns well with the reflection of large trees far away, while water wends* the wind’s way in the second picture. Both images play up diagonals and blend blue with green.

* Did you know that went was originally a past tense of wend? (Compare bend ~ bent and send ~ sent.) Eventually wended survived as the only past tense of wend, while went wended its way over to go and drove out that verb’s original past tense. The technical name for the linguistic process in which a form of one word replaces a form of a different word is suppletion. Another familiar example of suppletion occurred in English with good, whose comparative and superlative are better and best, which are related to each other but not to good. Latin went it one better, with bonus, melior, and optimus all unrelated to one another.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 13, 2021 at 4:40 AM

Closer looks at Spanish moss

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You’ve seen how Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) festooned the trees at Palmetto State Park on January 29th. Now here are two closer looks. In the top one the Spanish moss was still hanging from a tree, while in the bottom picture some had fallen onto a dry palmetto leaf (Sabal minor).

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today: “The past is a different country. They do things differently there.” — Leslie Poles Hartley, The Go-Between, 1953. (Wikipedia notes that the opening sentence “had first been used by Hartley’s friend Lord David Cecil in his inaugural lecture as Goldsmiths’ Professor in 1949.” And I’ll note that the Wikipedia article put the apostrophe in the wrong place in Goldsmiths’ Professor; I’ve corrected the mistake in citing the previous sentence.)

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 12, 2021 at 4:38 AM

Clouds over central Texas on February 4th

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Sometimes we get wispy clouds. Sometimes we get cottony clouds. Sometimes we get both.

The long tradition of referring to the skies as the heavens leads us to a quotation for today: “Can you see yourselves as spiritual beings having a human experience, rather than human beings who may be having a spiritual experience?” — Wayne Dyer, 1988. (A Quote Investigator article discusses the sentence’s origin and variations in its wording.)

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 11, 2021 at 4:45 AM

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Palmetto leaf arcs

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I wouldn’t do justice to Palmetto State Park, which we visited on January 29th, without showing you at least one close view of designs in the leaf of a palmetto, Sabal minor.

And here’s a quotation for today from Schiller’s 1801 play Die Jungfrau von Orleans, which is to say The Maiden from Orleans (meaning Joan of Arc):

Unsinn, du siegst und ich muß untergehn!
Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

The original doesn’t rhyme but I ended up making a loose modern-day translation that happens to rhyme:

Madness, you’ve won the day and I’ve got to give in!
Against stupidity the gods themselves can’t win.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 10, 2021 at 4:38 AM

Lush Spanish moss

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The first thing that caught my attention at Palmetto State Park on January 29th wasn’t the palmettos but the lush Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) hanging from many of the trees. Extra points if you know that Spanish moss is an epiphyte and a vascular plant rather than a true moss. Even more points if you can say lush Spanish moss quickly five times without messing up.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 9, 2021 at 3:47 AM

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